Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Stars: 4.5 / 5
Samurai Game is the tenth book in the Ghostwalker Series by Christine Feehan published in July of 2012. The plot centers around Sam "Knight" Johnson - member of GhostWalker Team One - and Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie - one of the orphan girls from Dr. Whitney's Group Two. This book touched the softer side of my heart even though both the ghostwalkers are tough and fierce.
GhostWalkers are a group of women and men who are sent on special missions. They have enhances psychic and physical abilities along with genetic modifications, using in some cases not just human genes but all kinds of animal and plant genes. However every GhostWalker would need an "anchor" to draw back the psychic backlash, especially that would instigate violence. They are complex characters trying to live with their enhanced abilities and at the same time fight against the corrupt people around them, executing their missions successfully. So far we are introduced to two teams of GhostWalkers Men serving in various areas of law enforcement and armed forces and one group of Orphan Girls on whom Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented. He has paired each of his GhostWalker men with the women in the hopes to breed the next generation of GhostWalkers.
In Shadow Game we had seen that Dr. Lily Whitney-Miller, married to Captain Ryland "King" Miller - head of Team One - find the details of the Orphan Girls that Dr. Peter Whitney had experimented on along with Lily. Now adopted or held in a different lab or on their own or more girls added as years progressed, Lily and Ryland are determined to find those girls now women, rescue them and provide a safe haven. So far they have rescued Dahlia Le Blanc, Iris "Flame" Johnson, Briony "Bri" Jenkins, Marigld "Mari" Smith, Saber Wynter, Tansy Meadows and Rose Patterson.
My usual style of reading a book, is to look at the cover, the title and the blurb at the back before digging into it. Although I liked the book cover, its title and definitely the author; I was hesitant to read this book because of the blurb. The blurb has nothing to do with the actual plot or the characters confusing the readers unnecessarily. A very unfair way of marketing the book from such a wonderful author - wonder why it was done so? Anyway, in the end I did finally pick the book. I am glad I did so else it would have been my loss to not know Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.
We have heard about Thorn quite a number of times during the course of the series. First she was mentioned in Predatory Game, where Saber Wynter recalls an incident involving Thorn and her in the facility where Dr. Whitney had held them. However, in the previous book, Ruthless Game, Rose Patterson recalls being with Thorn, when she was a kid in Dr. Whitney's basement lab along with other girls of Group One. Did Dr. Whitney take Saber and Thorn away from the original group and held them somewhere else for a few more years before discarding them off?
Dr. Whitney devices a plan to send Sam "Knight" Johnson along with his team on a deadly mission back into Congo where Sam would have a different outcome other than his team mates. Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie, orphan girl from Dr. Whitney's original group and discarded after, comes to know about the assignment. In the meanwhile the four GhostWalkers team approach Samurai Telecommunications to acquire one of their satellites, which happens to be owned by Thorn and her adopted brothers.
However, what neither Sam not Thorn expect is being paired by Dr. Whitney. As they fight off the impact of pheromones, they have a much bigger enemy to fight against. Protecting all the four GhostWalker teams falls on their shoulders and they brave for this game involving Samurais and Swords in the midst of mountains and forests.Two people who were considered as expendable by Dr. Whitney work together to prove quite the contrary. The battle of senses, strategies and attraction between Azami and Sam are superbly knitted. Her fierce nature hidden behind the innocent face is a perfect match for the bold sculpture of Sam. The plot gives us a feel that we might be walking through a Japanese garden surrounded by cherry blossom trees. But there is danger lurking behind every tree and under every leaf in the form of the different gadgets, spies and weapons that Dr. Whitney employ in taking these down.
We have seen a lot of action from Ryland Miller in the first book Shadow Game and in subsequent books we see him in bits and pieces or a few scenes efficiently managing the team. However, we see his much more than what he has projected himself so far in this plot, and up close in how he manages his team, family and keeps the enemies at bay. Just as Dr. Whitney thought Ryland wasn’t so bright a super soldier he want to be, as a reader I was getting that feeling to. Glad to see Christine showed more of him in this book quickly amending my assessment of Ryland.
Just like how the rejected male psychic candidates exist, Dr. Whitney might have come across rejected female psychics too, those whom he did not keep as part of any of his groups of orphan girls. A few books ago when Violet was introduced, the thought crossed my mind, as to what about the rejected female psychics and how is Dr. Whitney using them. We see some of them in action in this plot, although they aren't a match with the GhostWalkers, it was fun to watch them pit against the elite and survive.
It amazes me how Christine remembers all her inconsequential details that she throws around in her plots and then somehow weaves them into future plots making a complete tapestry. When she introduced Tom Delany, Sr. in Murder Game, she shows that he is given a chance to become an honorable GhostWalker. She shows the readers in this plot, that indeed Tom no only becomes an honorable GhostWalker but also joins Team One as suggested by Kadan. That connection to that small detail she provides makes the readers always wonder which small details would blow into a major plot, keeping them on the edge with her plots.
I wanted to see a reunion of sorts among the GhostWalkers Women who were together as kids but separated as they grew. We saw a little of it in Ruthless Game at Rose and Kane's wedding. We again see it here when the remaining members of Team One and Two in the Montana hills fight the enemy when the rest of both teams were out on missions. A reunion, even though not written as such, was pleasant to read.
There is a lot of repeat paraphrasing seen. As the books progress, I see that this is increasing more and more. Again, quite a few character and grammatical errors are seen, which is unusual for Christine's books.The plot may be similar to other books in the series, but what makes this different is the door that it opens us to nanotechnology and the weapons around it. I can't even imagine how much of research time might have been spent by Christine for this book, but it shows in the writing very much. I am now more than intrigued to see how all these ghostwalkers will come together to get his huge empire of Dr. Whitney down.
Another excellent book to read in the series.
1) Plot Reveals:
d. GhostWalker Team One, Army Rangers and Army Green Berets; first introduced in the first book, Shadow Game - under direct command of General Theodore Ranier. They make their base in the mountains of Montana along-side Team Two as of Predatory Game.
e. GhostWalker Team Two, Paramilitary Ghostwalkers Team (Navy SEALs) working with NCIS; first introduced in the second book, Mind Game; under direct command of Rear Admiral Frank Henderson. They make their base in the mountains of Montana where Jack and Ken already reside as of Predatory Game.
f. GhostWalker Team Three: Marine Force Recon Urban Warfare Team; first introduced in Predatory Game; under direct command of Sergeant Major Theodore Griffen. 9 men and two women who grew up together to form a family by heart, joined by a newbie now. They make their base in San Francisco, around the warehouse that Jaimie already bought in Street Game, as of Ruthless Game.
g. GhostWalker Team Four: Air Force Pararescue Special Forces Team; first mentioned in Predatory Game; more revealed in Street Game where we meet Joe and hear about Malichai; possibly settling in San Francisco along-side Team Three.
h. Group One of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: Twelve orphan girls on whom he had conducted his experiments to make them psychically enhanced - Lily Whitney-Miller, the only girl he had adopted for himself; Dahlia Le Blanc; Iris "Flame" Johnson; Briony "Bri" Jenkins; Marigold "Mari" Smith; Tansy Meadows; Rose Patterson; Jonquille; Laurel; Camellia "Cami".
i. Group Two of Dr. Peter Whitney's Orphans: First introduced in Predatory Game. It is clear that although Thorn was later on isolated with Saber in a different facility, she was with the others in the Group One in the beginning, per this plot - Saber Wynter; Azami "Thorn" Yoshiie.
j. The Fontenot family is introduced in Night Game - Raoul's three brothers (Wyatt, ) and his grandmother, Nonny. Wyatt is shown to have romantic feelings towards the lost and found girl, Joy Chiasson.
k. Dr. Peter Whitney who thought be dead in the first book Shadow Game, is shown to be alive as well as psychic as of Deadly Game with more devious plots in his mind. As the books progress, we see the various kinds of horrific experiments he had done on the GhostWalkers Men and Women - tracking them with a computer chip in their body; pairing the Orphan girls not only with one of the four Ghostwalker teams, but his personal enhanced team that he created using the rejected psychic candidates as part of his breeding program; injecting them with Zenith, a fast-healing medicine but with serious repercussions; experimenting with animal genes.
l. Dr. Peter Whitney's allies in his devious plots are:
3) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors: